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Order to allot Ismail Yusuf College land to National Law varsity withdrawn
Tuesday February 24, 2015 11:57 PM, News Network

Facing stiff and unexpected opposition from the Muslim and non-Muslim NGOs and activists on the issue, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government Tuesday withdrew its controversial decision to allot a two-storey building in Ismail Yusuf College campus to the National Law University (NLU).

Ismail Yusuf College

"The proposal of giving away a land in Ismail Yusuf College campus to the National Law University has been dropped", DNA quoted an officer in the Higher and Technical Education Department as saying.

It is also informed that the NLU may now come up in Navi Mumbai and the state government has directed CIDCO to locate a land for the purpose.

The officer admitted that the decision was taken to avoid an adverse court ruling in the light of a decade-old litigation in the case and also aimed to "deflate" the tension and "occupy college" plans.

The Maharashtra government's decision to allot Ismail Yusuf College land to the NLU faced stiff opposition from all circles. Few Muslim NGOs and activists led by SEWA even announced to 'forcibly occupy' the Ismail Yusuf College and declare it a 'Muslim property' if the government went ahead with its controversial decision.

Ismail Yusuf College Bachao Samiti led by Dr. Zahir Kazi of Anjuman-i-Islam and others warned to launch 'the biggest protest' in the history of Mumbai against the government's order.

Some of the leaders including Sudheendra Kulkarni - close aide of ex-prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, even warned the government that a stubborn approach to the problem may create a fertile ground for protests with unforeseen and undesirable consequences.

The idea of a college for Muslims was mooted by philanthropist Sir Mohammad Ismail Yusuf who in January 1910 donated Rs. 8 lakh to then State of Bombay with a condition to establish a college which should be primarily for Muslims though, he said, students belonging to other religious communities could also be given admissions. The idea began taking shape by March 1924 and the college, one among the four affiliated to University of Mumbai by then, finally started functioning in1930.

Later on, a considerable size bisecting the land under the college control was used for the construction of Western Express Highway, and a hostel on the same campus was converted into an office for the education department of the state. In 1999, a few ex-students approached Bombay high court after the state government had started giving the college land to third parties.

Muslims are demanding possession of this land since independence. Their demands became stronger when the state government, after violent protests by Dalits, announced to use Indu Mill compound to build a memorial for Dr. Ambedkar.

Dr. Mehmoodur Rehman Committee, constituted in 2008 by the Congress-NCP alliance government to look into socio-economic and educational status of Muslims in Maharashtra, had also supported the demand in its report.

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